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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun with an intriguing sub text for the curious
Attack the Gas Station! is an effective show case for 4 young stars and goes some way to prove that the newly revitalised Korean cinema has a lot to offer. Anarchic, briskly staged and with some genuinely funny moments, it is a film which could be remade to good effect in the West (I can see Kevin Spacey as the beleagued station owner, for instance) although I doubt that...
Published on 22 Mar. 2005 by Richard Bowden

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3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Korean Cinema
I have found Korean cinema generally to be interesting, with some genuinely great films being produced. However, Attack the Gas Station is not one of them. It centres around a gang of 4 youths who take over a gas station for a night, terrorising the staff and gradually accumulating additional hostages. They realise that the best way to make money is to keep the gas...
Published on 25 Feb. 2010 by J. Bloss


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3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Korean Cinema, 25 Feb. 2010
By 
J. Bloss "jethrox1" (Buckingham,UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Attack the Gas Station [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I have found Korean cinema generally to be interesting, with some genuinely great films being produced. However, Attack the Gas Station is not one of them. It centres around a gang of 4 youths who take over a gas station for a night, terrorising the staff and gradually accumulating additional hostages. They realise that the best way to make money is to keep the gas station working. There are some pretty unsubtle comments on the state of the Korean nation, smashing up nationalistic slogans for instance, and also it's noticeable how American products come in for a fair amount of abuse too. Each character has a flashback which attempts to explain why they are angry, disaffected and frustrated, but these are not well done and could have been handled with more sympathy and depth. There is a lot of violence in the film too and a lot of it really feels unnecessary. This film is quite often described as a comedy but I would challenge anybody to find more than a couple of even mildly funny moments. All in all it was pretty disappointing.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun with an intriguing sub text for the curious, 22 Mar. 2005
Attack the Gas Station! is an effective show case for 4 young stars and goes some way to prove that the newly revitalised Korean cinema has a lot to offer. Anarchic, briskly staged and with some genuinely funny moments, it is a film which could be remade to good effect in the West (I can see Kevin Spacey as the beleagued station owner, for instance) although I doubt that all of the verve could be recaptured, for this is a young man's film, angry and alert to wider issues.
"If they move, kill them" is a running joke through the film as the number of hostages increases and, whether or not a deliberate reference to Peckinpah's Wild Bunch, its still funny.
The least convincing aspect of the film is the flashbacks. While useful in providing some background and character motivation for the main characters, their previous lives seems sketched in too cursorily and in result the young men lose dramatic weight. It's as if that, once away from the scene of their most important and direct influence, they are morally enervated. Their stature is only significant, the film seems to suggest, as the principals go on and take direct, group action. Part of this is deliberate, as their past frustration undoubtedly feeds their current boredom and anger, yet one feels that much of the same ground could have been covered by some relevant interaction between the four, who leave their personal demons resolutely undiscussed.
More interesting is what the Gas Station represents: this viewer feels that, to some extent, it is Korea in microcosm. Just as Japanese cinema has repeatedly reworked the trauma of nuclear holocaust into its science fiction and fantasy films, so the peculiar nature of the local North-South Korean standoff and mutual hostility is echoed in this film, in which the ending threatens a peculiarly lunatic and mutually achieved apocalypse through petrol and lighters. Clearly, continued tension plays a part in the national psyche, and the repeated requests to 'fix it'(the phone) has wider implications as far as national communication or understanding is concerned.
The contempt poured upon the glib national slogans hanging in the wall is one explicit political disaffection. As the film proceeds and the shiny new gas station (a manifestation in itself of the hitherto 'economic miracle' of the east) is increasingly the scene of mini power struggles, escalating standoffs, and threats of destruction. This is a Korea in which changes are demanded, or annihilation surely follows, and in which no one it appears wants to be 'boss' or take responsibility, as the station owner's ready relinquishment of authority suggests. A country in which one might as well balance upside down on one's head, pointlessly and endlessly, as achieve any dialogue. And as the final scene shows, a forecourt packed with Koreans ready to destroy themselves is both bitterly ironic and ruthlessly apt.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well crafted Korean social commentary, 6 Sept. 2011
By 
Mark G. (East Anglia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Attack the Gas Station [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
A group of 4 dissatisfied and bored youths set out to smash up and demolish an all night gas station. They soon find that they can make more money if they pose as staff, fuel peoples vehicles and keep the earnings.

The film is constantly amusing and entertaining with some great characters that, despite being nameless (except for 'Bulldozer') are still likeable, regardless of their motives.
That may sound odd, as afterall, the 4 lead characters are technically the bad guys of the film due to the fact that they are out causing trouble simply because they are bored.
And yet you feel no animosity towards them and they are all likeable and entertaining right from the start without any need to build up any sympathies for them. There are some tiny flashback moments, and while these may explain some of the charcters motivation, the movie would of worked just as well without them.

The movie is well shot and well acted and keeps up its amusing, entertaining pace throughout its almost 2 hour duration.

There are many great moments littered throughout. I especially liked a scene where one of the characters breaks open a vending machine to steal the change, which he subsequently uses in another vending machine to buy a drink.

Other highlights include things such as, the best way to get a bit of background music whilst they are working and why Pepsi might be Korean.

The events that unfold at the gas station are a clever social commentary on the state of Korea, the gas station itself actually representing the country and the people representing the North or South and other nations.

Those that don't pick up on the message (I didn't the first time I watched it), or don't care about the social commentary should still enjoy this as it is an excellent, funny and entertaining movie. The only downside for me is that the subtitles on my version seem to suffer from being poorly translated at times, but that doesn't detract from understanding events or from the enjoyment of the film overall.
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